Reading the Signs of Ovulation
Back To Basics--Cervical Mucus Checks
These days there are a number of different ways to determine whether you are ovulating. Predictor kits, ferning devices, and fertility monitors are available everywhere and a variety of methods are put forward to make the job easier, but these methods are considered to be secondary methods.
There are two basic fertility signs that are essential to check when you are doing your fertility chart. One is basal body temperature (BBT) and the other is cervical fluid. These two methods are the primary ways to determine ovulation. The other methods mentioned are excellent ways to confirm the basic signs. You may make other observations of your body through the course of your cycle that can be useful in helping to pinpoint ovulation as well.
What is Cervical Fluid?
As you approach ovulation, your cervix produces a fluid in response to the increase of estrogen in your body. This fluid flows into the vagina from the cervix, so it is easy to observe its texture and changes as you come closer to the time of ovulation. The cervical fluid increases in quantity and moves through a progression from dry to sticky, creamy to watery and on to the texture of egg white, clear and stretchy. By noticing and recording these changes you will be able to time intercourse to coincide with ovulation and you'll have a better idea of how your own cycle works.
How to Check Cervical Mucus and What to Look For
The easiest and most common way to check cervical fluid is externally. But, don't check just before or after sex because seminal fluids and arousal skew the texture of the cervical fluid. The best way to check is when you go to the bathroom. After you wipe your vagina, wipe again with a clean tissue and notice the texture of the fluid, if there is any on the tissue. You can use clean fingers to check as well. You will likely find cervical fluid in your panties the closer you get to ovulation.
There are some things you will want to make note of when you are checking cervical fluid. Notice if the vagina is wet or dry and if there is any fluid on the tissue when you wipe the vagina a second time. Note the texture, appearance, amount and color of the fluid. Make note of how it feels to the touch and if it can be stretched between the thumb and index finger. Kegel exercises are a good way to force cervical fluid to the entrance of the vagina in the event finding it is difficult. Exercise and bowel movements also push the fluid down to the vaginal opening, making checking a lot easier. It is best not to try checking the cervical fluid after sex using any of the above methods because you will just be expelling or forcing semen down the vagina.
Consistency is Key
If you are able to check your cervical fluid externally, then consistently do it that way. If you are having trouble finding cervical fluid externally, perhaps due to a decrease in estrogen caused by breastfeeding or perimenopause, then check it internally. The key is to check consistently and record your findings so you will have a clear picture of your own particular time of ovulation.